popular in the 2,000s. i am not a big optimist. >> because of the crisis of investigative journalism in russia, a clear picture of what happens in russia in the general. many problems are not clear. right now it looks like scandinavia. that might be changed very quickly because of different circumstances. ..
the problem, by 35 they started to feel that, well, okay, i got my family, i got my house, my mansion, what to do next? and they start to be very closed to this problems of their own families. so they tend to think mostly about these things. maybe it's because it's not very effective, to be frank. to think about politics in russia is not very -- it might prevent a good career, so why to do it? for many it's big challenge. they just don't want to talk about these things. and that's one of the problems that we almost lost public discussion about the most important things. nobody to talk about caucuses, nobody want to talk about new initiative of medvedev to sup press troublemakers -- sup press
troublemakers and all these things launched just two years ago. for many, well, they're quite curious. attacks might happen in moscow. it happens, okay, but we are, we don't want to think about it. >> can but do you think that when your generation is 50 and not 35 that you're going to just carry on the same stuff, or will they think about opening it up? >> it's a big question for us. it's a very big and open question. i just don't know. maybe there are some people who might be more active in some years, but to be frank, i am not -- i think if you want to be active in politics, you need to start not in 35. and the idea is not to forget about it afterwards. for many of my friends, and we have some very good friends who are very active -- [inaudible] very active friends in the late '80s. they took part in demonstration.
now they pressured them to take part in assistance in moscow in support of kill journalists. well,. [inaudible] not about, for example, we have a number of manifestations just for open speech. [inaudible] >> okay. >> thank you. my name is gregory, i'm a former correspondent -- [inaudible] and currently in research of russian internet at george washington university. you wrote a few very interesting pieces about russian internet and the conversion between -- [inaudible] a few years ago, so i wonder what is the current state of the related internet activities and what extent there are a lot of
urban legends -- so do they have the right to follow everything? what type of activities they're doing now and what is the current state of the internet, russian blog surfings? >> and i would add there's a summit in the book -- subject in the book, so i call your attention to it. >> in fact, it was quite smart to keep the distance, so it's not as if people who attack is the foreign side. there's a number of people, and according to our information they're supported by the kremlin. so it's, we can compare the movements like -- [inaudible] and some people are recruited from the rank of organizations and supervised by the same people as administration. the efforts be done -- [inaudible] when something happened and there's, for example, they had very famous attack when some
students try today attack -- tried to attack -- [inaudible] and united states there was complaints, and there was call to local ssb office. you had the students, they said, well, these students were -- [inaudible] so we have nothing to do with that. >> they were just patriots? >> patriots, yeah. they're just patriot, and that's -- so that's why we don't need to persecute them. and now as far as they see and we note this once, the efforts we try to find a way to some groups of hikers, again, but not to pay them, motto order them, but to encourage them. because sometimes it would be enough because in this case they might keep this distance, and you see it was, it turned out to be very successful in case of historian. historian tried to accuse -- [inaudible] but because we can't find the evidence, well, it's, again, we
have to talk only about just russian hikers. and -- [inaudible] >> and blogosphere. it seems that the secret service is not very active from blogosphere because it's an area of administration. >> yeah. and -- >> they have special comment in blogosphere and have the special -- they all on blogs and so -- >> even created kremlin's school of boogers. [laughter] >> georgetown university. could you say a few words about the relationship between fsb and svr? and, for instance, when we're talking about the -- when the russians are talking about the near abroad, which organization
has primacy in the looking at that, and to what extent there is subversion sponsored by one or the other organizations in the near abroad, for instance, the great interest in georgia or ukraine. >> the fsb was given a very special task in preparations abroad. they will task it to supervise the former or soviet union, and they now have a special department called the department of operation information. and they mostly responsible for -- [inaudible] including estonia and -- [inaudible] estates. but the problem is that because there is no mechanism of even internal control, this department because of some bureaucratic reasons began to increase activity, and sometimes
the journalists you have to give very peculiar things to understand what's going on inside. well, i might say that now this department adopted new and senior, and now it's a globe. and at the same time the foreign intelligence, the svr, as we understood -- [inaudible] was tasked to deal with former soviet union republics. and which lie special web site on the internet -- [inaudible] and it take only three weeks, but there's a number of documents, and to my opinion, i had no ability to check them, but as far as i can say they looked credible. there was some document about some operations of the fsb, and it was very interesting notes. top secret to the president of russia figuration from the
directer, department of operative -- [inaudible] carry out special operation in ukraine, we created false document to present it to the government of ukraine, and we have to say that the foreign intelligence service release this document and report it to moscow as genuine with. so we ask you politely to say or to call it fake. >> so under -- they're competing, in other words. >> yes. >> yes. >> christopher or schroeder, friend of david's. history is filled with unintended consequences, and i'm sort of curious if you could play back what the fsb has become, and if you could interview putin ten years ago, is this what he wanted? is he stuck in things that he never thought would happen? the second thing, and i'm sure it's in the book, could you just give us a quick tour of who to
watch, who are the people we're going to be hearing about in the next 5-10 years and, you know, who they are? >> i think because putin was summoned in the fall of 1999 and he was quite honest, i think he anticipate something different. because he wanted to create new lead for russia. kind of junta united -- [inaudible] people loved the kremlin -- [inaudible] and the russian state. but, in fact, in 2007 it became even public the big struggle between people inside the secret services, and there was an open letter published by -- [inaudible] written by, excuse me, by victor, former kgb officer responsible for political surveillance and then chief
of -- [inaudible] who said, well, now -- [inaudible] so i think now putin quite disappointed by this internal crisis because he as far as we i because he even task it, the agency of victor to -- [inaudible] of the fsb as the agency fell and be some general, and a general from -- [inaudible] who was responsible for these investigations was sent to jail. so i think he's not quite happy with what's now he has. but at the same time i think he might be happy, but the 1990s one of the big problem for the government was you have to face all these questions from foreign journalists, from domestic journalists, and you have to answer these questions. the problem is what happened to
today when the political culture became so secretive and so suspicious, but now if you ask official, first of all, very difficult to ask him because you need to find him. [laughter] and the second question is but if you ask the question, the answer would be not the answer to the question, but to a kind of search for who paid you for this question, who ordered you to ask this question? and i think what happened in the 2000s. and i think putin because, you know, he has very strange habit to answer questions -- [inaudible] he's quite happy with that. >> delphine with the east/west center. i had a question about who is resisting in society, the sort of, the difficulty of pushing back against the freedoms and the political restrictions aside
from the mass stagnation, surely there are people in addition to the investigative journalists who are trying, different sectors of society. who is doing that, and what kind of pressures are on them? >> we have an activity of some local small groups who are mostly about some local problems. for example, the forest surrounds them or they had, for example, they had some very active trade unions in some cities where there's big plants, and so these people, they are very angry about the problems -- [inaudible] they tried to do something. the problem is that now they are the summit of the cam -- subject of the campaign against extremism, and this campaign was mostly launch not by putin, but by medvedev.
in 2008 he disbanded the department responsible for fighting organized crime and terrorism in his interior ministry, and he created the new department possible for fighting extremism. and it was said openly but now we've won our war against -- [inaudible] and now all these thousands of experienced officers and interior minister who were responsible for penetrating criminal groups or terrorists cells, they now are responsible for -- [inaudible] these kind of troublemakers. so now we've had a lot, for example, trade union activities would be asking to go to the local office of center on fighting extremism and it would be said, well, you are kind of the activities provocative. you tried to understood mine russian state and you might be accused, and can there's a number, for example, when
bloggers who criticize the activity of the foreign, of the criminal security service and the interior minister they are accused of extremism. mostly it's about bloggers and the local groups. and we have small, not very significant liberal political organizations like, for example, cat par love liberal movement which, to be frank, is very small. 2 or 3,000 people. that's -- [inaudible] but we are subject of investigation of this big department. and two months ago thefonew powe given these new powers, and medvedev signs new law. even this is it very, very -- i'm just -- i'm not very sure
what does it mean. because extremism in russia is something about war. it's not about actions, it's not about attack or bombings, it's about what you say something that might be provocative. and while to prevent someone to say something that might be provocative, i think@very -- [inaudible] but now they was given the right, and now two big services they deal with these small numbers of troublemakers. >> okay. first toou the back. >> [inaudible] from the french daily newspaper. i spent a few years in russia myself, and i was struck by what you said about the fact that nobody really knows what's going on in russia because, you know, investigative journalism is nearly dead. i mean, apart from a few exceptions like you're trying to fight against the current.
and i was wondering if you would expand this notion to the fact that in the west people are less and less, less and less interested in what's going on in russia as well. i mean, they used to be very current of information about russia in europe and in the u.s., and you can really see now that it's not the case, that there's less and less information about what's really going on throughout russia. do you see somehow intellectually and politically abandoned in your effort to grasp where is your country going, and in connection with that first question, i was wondering what you think of the current foreign policy of the west in both the obama administration and people like president sarkozy and what is the feeling about what the west is doing now with russia? >> [inaudible] journalism in russia.
yes, of course, we feel yourself a little bit hammered on by the intellectuals. we failed to attract attention of the authorities and change something that we investigate. we can -- [inaudible] and nobody pay attention. sometimes it might be some forcible actions, for example, some criminal case or interdpaitions, but -- interrogations, but in general nobody pay attention to our investigations. but so, and the situation is that the paper have now interest e to publish investigation because of to avoid the pro. abt foreign governments, i think while it was surprise for us because it's one of the big problems, big issues of the book
that tried to write about, and in 1990s we fought, and the many experts fought we see a kind of kgb revival, and this new power. putin might change the whole content, economic rules and content. but, in fact, what we saw -- and i think that might be answer because the west sees -- [inaudible] but fsb was not so active. they were given the powers. they never tried to gain and something, some crucial things changed. but political culture, economic rules has the same thing. it has similar regards, even the same names. there is not talks about property rights except some crucial things, there is some i.
putin was very, very generous with united states just after 1990 -- just after 9/11 attacks. he even closed down some intelligence facilities, for example, base in cuba, and he closed down, the interrogation facility in vietnam. it's just a problem of russian, it looks like for the worst because they're quite happy foreign policy of russian state except georgia but, to be frank, it was -- i think everybody understood it was not a question about if they are talking about even iran. you see even medvedev is very, very generous. it's not like -- everybody understood, and i think even in the west that putin's state is not a kind of new russian, i new
soviet state created in 190s with idea of revolution everywhere and to undermine the regimes in every country. we are not so big threat. just some strange habits to deat it's just problem of internal opposition. [inaudible] david's book was -- >> with do you mean will be published in russian? >> [inaudible] >> what do you think, andre, is there a chance this book will be published in russian? >> yeah, i think so. now we have talks with russian publishing house -- >> they're going to charge you a lot of money for it. [laughter] >> i hope. >> has there been reaction to the book inside of russia? >> official, no. there is no official reaction, and there was one interview -- [inaudible] russian service of the bbc, but that's all. well, it's very smart because
the story would be a big story in the papers. for example -- [inaudible] might pick up this story. but mostly at the papers pick up only if there's government interaction. in this case it would be a story. if you just -- [inaudible] well, it's your choice. >> we had one question back here. >> thank you. i'm with freedom house. you had mentioned earlier that in 1990s when there was creation of the fsb as we know it now, it sort of toppled the influence of svra and other agencies. my question is regarding the caucuses of which no one wants to talk about in russia. how much competition is going in controlling the situation between the -- [inaudible] and fsb and the militia units? as i understand, it sort of has been squend ey have
tried to squeeze out the fsb as well but not quite exactly. so who, exactly, is controlling the situation in chechnya and other republics, especially given the new spike in militant activity and the split in the mill about militants? thank you. >> are why don't we explain gru. >> yeah. in fact, fsb used the powers and this regime and their powers, and they -- not to pretend more -- [inaudible] but to avoid it. we have, as you know, ae fsb war operation only for 31 months. it was -- [inaudible] and it was long before --
[inaudible] so the idea of the fsb was to have a free hand in chechnya to use shoot and kill policy, to have death squads there but not to take responsibility. [inaudible] and now internal troops are most active force in -- not only -- [inaudible] the appointment changed nothing in this situation. he still thinks of internal troops as the most effective force to deal with terrorists. so it was not the struggle between military intelligence, fsb and -- [inaudible] for control. in fact, internal troops ights,e or quite happy. why is so important because now we have news of --
[inaudible] officially responsible for the situation and not only for the situation in economic area, but for the whole situation. and he was given just the same people who said to be controlled by ca dir e. so hard pool yang controlled by -- but for the fsb while they carry out some very good operations, yeah, they kill some people, they even detained one prominent leader, but we don't want to be responsible. and for military intelligence because we now have a very big form of the ministry of defense and mind you, that's not brigade, it's just -- [inaudible] it's a suggestion that might be disbanded completely so they are just not in -- [inaudible] >> we should say that this year
the efforts special forces be active and the north organized l liquidation of terrorists, and the -- [inaudible] it was big sacrifice for them because they didn't do -- >> for ten years. >> okay. i've got two more questions. >> bill tucker. i administration and the white house counsel's office. and i have to many people , the prime minister of the slow slovakia republic, and reagan cam goa was to bring down the soviet union. and he referred to it as, you
know, an evil empire. and that to a man all of these leaders in the former warsaw the soviet unionve said that an e mill 'em vie -- evil empire gave them the courage and inspiration to fight on against commune itch. but -- communism. but i would like to know from your viewpoint what effect reagan and the west had on the pressure they brought on the soviet union to bring down the soviet union and caused it to fail. >> i think, you know, the biggest -- [inaudible] the west was very important in disbanding the soviet union, the kgb personal. and former kgb chief uri kitsch cough and other generals, they
constantly talk to press and said, well, there's so many agents of influence of the west in our government, so the soviet union collapsed. but, in fact, i think that the -- because you're right, the importance and the role of the west because dissidents grew up very small and an drop above was so harsh to persecute them that by the late, mid 1980s they became insignificant, and there was no sport to the population to them -- support to the population to them. for example, my parents listen to radio, but while for -- it never provoked them to do something, to become active. so, it. that's great, this might be interesting to hear some voices of socialism, for example.
but it was not so significant. i think it mostly was internal crisis. and mostly because, and i think a great bunch of us very, very important. it was his decision. i think -- [inaudible] decided not to do all these things, it might last for another 10e years -- 10 years, maybe 15 years. it was his decision and some people close to him. but, again, i should be very cautious because when i was very young, i was not -- [inaudible] >> okay. last question here in the back. >> my name is -- [inaudible] from safe foundation. i have a question regarding the fsb. i have read that even in hitler's time the person who headed up the secret service, berg, he was directing information on hitler to
overthrow him when an opportunity came. same in the united states, you know? there is a is suspicion that fbi, i like to call these so-called intelligence agencies, agencies of state terrorism. and that exists in every country whether it's in russia or in the united states or anywhere else. they've probably knocked off kennedy. and those kinds of things do happen, and then we saw bush sr. who was a cia chief, his son becoming a president. so that kind -- is there something going on to either knock off medvedev or there may be an adversarial relationship at one point, and one of them will overthrow, something like that is happening? >> or some third person like what happened to cruise chof will come and, boom, overthrow these two guys.
>> [inaudible] we've heard some examples, but only in the 1990s when we had -- [inaudible] who collected information. he published it. but i think if there should be reason for those thing, and the first thing is that you have to have public opinion. and very strong medias to publish this stuff. because on the media if you, if you have strong media, my publisher all this stuff. so it's my result and resignation of some senior officials. today if you even have some very sensitive stuff about some very high-placed officials, there's no reason to publish it because nobody would be -- that's just not -- well, we see it was never used for 30 years except this last example of mayor of moscow. but it was decision of medvedev, he was not, he was of not pressured by media to do this
thing. he decided to -- >> [inaudible] >> yeah. he was just -- >> [inaudible] >> yeah. and if you are talking about how, how putin is controlled by this, i hi it's a wig -- think it's a big question for me because if you have no possibility to check information independently, if you're president and you have no independent channels, if you have no media, no parliament, no independent parliament, so you can create many, many police as napoleon done or tried to do or it was the decision of -- [inaudible] but if you have only one main secret police and while it is only permission for you, so you would be very quickly influenced by this source of information, and for you it's very difficult to find new decisions and to be not pressured by them. well, i think it's a big question for medvedev, but for putin. >> okay. listen, i'd like to thank everybody for coming.
having read the book myself, i'd like to call your attention to the fact that there's a lot of juicy material in this book that we haven't talked about today and definitely is worth an afternoon of your time. there's a particularly three very strong chapters about how the fsb dealt with terrorism in the last decade. there's very thoughtful bit about the fsb and the rule of law. there's some very good material about the role of the fsb in the political process and, certainly, with dissidents. and one of my favorite small gems in this book is a chapter really about the moscow secret subway. and i won't give it away, but i hope you get a chance to read it. thanks, everybody, for coming. i'm sure the authors will hang around, answer your questions, and thanks again to foreign policy and the new america foundation for giving us this chance. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> this event was hosted by the new america foundation in
>> john dower is the author of "cultures of war," he's joining us now. he's a finalist for the national book award in the nonfiction category. professor dower, what's the similarity between pearl harbor and 9/11? >> well, that's where the book began when pearl harbor happened headlines said infamy, some of them quoted roosevelt, they used the word kamikaze, they went back to pearl harbor to try to
grasp the enormity of this. but then i work on, i've written on asia, i'm a historian of japan, and i've done a lot of thinking about the war. then it got more complicated because then it spun into failure of intelligence, surprise attack. then it started to get into world war ii where you had the firemen picture raising the stars and stripes, that iconic picture. and it was iwo jima. people put the two pictures up. the president began calling for a war on terror, and many began quoting roosevelt and truman. so it went from pearl harbor, 9/11 into world war ii and then they christened the world trade center ruins ground zero, and then we're in a whole different dimension of world war ii. so it began with 9/11 in infamy,
and it became much more complicated. >> tie together hiroshima and iraq. >> well, the real tie is hiroshima and 9/11. that was the real tie because ground zero is an atomic woman woman -- bomb phrase. and that's a practice that comes out of world war ii, the air war in world war ii you wanted to destroy enemy morale, a anglo american air powers, england and the united states. and it was done in germany, carried to japan, culminates in hiroshima. so the ground zero '45, ground zero 2001 is the link. the iraq link is wars of choice
to begin with because we go from 9/11, this war of choice by the islamist terrorists, to the japanese war of choice earlier, and there's a parallel. and then suddenly we have a war of choice against iraq. and then we have a terrific failure of intelligence in iraq, just a disastrous failure of intelligence on the part of the united states. and so then you've got pearl harbor which was a japanese tactical, tactically brilliant, strategically idiotic thing. you have the war of choice of the islamists, then america's doing a war of choice. so i'm a historian, and can i wanted to understand it's not all the same. but i wanted to see how you could do, think comparatively about war, and then every side is talking holy wars. and wars' always been -- war's
always been with us in our modern times, even with our new technologies. i really wanted to wrestle with it. it was a wrestling. i had to try to figure some things out for myself, ask some questions i hadn't asked. >> vietnam is not a focus of your book. why? >> it's not a focus of the book because there was simply not space to do it. vietnam figures in as one of the major cultures of war. it's mentioned in passing in a number of ways. vietnam figures in both as a place where you deliberately targeted noncombatants. vietnam figures in a different way in the failures of intelligence, and i write about this at some length. just the subtitle could only be so long, and it wasn't that i was going back to vietnam. but the striking thing in the failure of intelligence was that
in vietnam we had, basically, the united states had lost in an insurgency, and after vietnam we ceased to study counterinsurgency in the u.s. government. it was dropped from the military academies. it was dropped out. we weren't going to get involved in that, and there was no preparation for what we encountered in iraq and in afghanistan. afghanistan figures in the, of course, also. but i focus mostly on iraq. and there the failure of intelligence on our part, on the u.s. part was extraordinary. why? so i was trying to think of this over time, and one thing this does is it takes you to think comparatively about the u.s. in the ways that are sometimes a bit taboo and a little bit make people uncomfortable. it's not saying it's all the
same. but also it lifts it out of the bush administration per se when you step back in history and look at the bigger picture, and you're going back to world war ii, you're going back to other things. at one point in the book, i end up in the philippines at the turn of the century, you know, when the u.s. conquered the philippines in 1898 to early 1900s. and all the rhetoric was there. i have a line in the book that you want to find the ghost behind the ghost writers for george bush, you go back to the philippines. the rhetoric, the language is all there. so to think about war as a culture is very painful. it's painful because it's asking very hard things about us i as human beings. not just, not about americans or something, it's about us as human beings in a modern age where we have war with us all the time, the technology may
change but somehow we're caught in this coil, and it seems hard to get out. and i do it at levels of both the individual and the institution. so at the end i came upon talking about concepts of pathology, of individual pathologies and institutional bureaucratic dysfunctions. very, very hard things to wrestle with, took a long time. but that's where it ended up. >> speaking of george bush, have you or will you be reading "decision points," particularly the chapters on afghanistan and iraq? >> well, i haven't read the -- i've read very, very extensively in memoirs by everyone, memoirs, investigative journalists, reports leaked from the bush administration, and i made a decision to keep working on the book to the end of the bush administration.
that's when the research stopped. i will look at his autobiography, certainly, but i hope i can move on to a subject maybe that's cultures of peace or cultures of something else in the future rather than go back to this right now. >> professor john dower has already won the national book award for embracing defeat, in fact, he won the pulitzer prize for that book as well. he has been nominated for the 2010 national book award nonfiction category for "cultures of war: pearl harbor, hiroshima, 9/11 and iraq." >> booktv is on twitter. follow us for regular updates on our programming and news on nonfiction books and authors. twitter.com/booktv. >> coming up next, louisiana governor bobby jindal talks about his experiences in this
office including his handling of the fallout from hurricane katrina and the bp oil spill. governor jindal spoke at the reagan ranch center in santa barbara, california, at an event hosted by young americas foundation. this event is about 80 minutes. [applause] >> thank you all very much. thank you. thank you very much. thank y'all very much. andrew, thank you for that very generous introduction. thank you for that warm reception. even before i start my remarks. [laughter] i have to tell you what a privilege to be here, just to give you an idea of how much president reagan meant to me not only as a young student, as a young man and then later as a congressman and as governor, i occupied the fourth floor of the capitol in the famous building that huey long built in baton
rouge, louisiana. there is exactly one painting, one portrait, one decoration in my office. in this fourth floor office that used to be the home of the supreme court of louisiana, a beautiful, historical office and a beautiful historical building, there is the original painting of president ronald reagan sitting upright on his horse as a constant reminder of every day why we're here and what we're here to accomplish as we try to turn our state around. so it is a great honor to be here in the affiliation with the ronald reagan ranch and the young america's foundation. thank you, again, for hosting me here. you know, two weeks ago our country had a tremendous election. and a lot of people, a lot of people have remarked about what this election meant. this last week i released my book, "leadership in crisis." there's been a lot of media attention about the opening anecdote in that book, and i describe in the book about how president obama came down to louisiana for his first visit after the oil spill, about two weeks after the explosion.
air force one landed on the tarmac in the new orleans airport. he came down the steps and, clearly, this was not going to be a usual interaction. usually when the president gets off air force one, you briefly talk to him at the foot of the steps, and then you leave to get to the meeting. as soon as he got off the steps, as soon as he came down the plane, he actually grabbed my arm and pulled me aside. now, they had clearly tipped off some washington reporters. this was clearly -- they had told the reporters, watch, the president's going to be angry, he's going to be mad at the governor. this was clearly a press stunt because they had told some reporters in washington to watch this, and i could see that he was angry. and i thought, well, maybe he's angry at bp. maybe he's angry at the oil. maybe he's angry about the bureaucracy and the red tape. and i was stunned. he was angry because of a routine bureaucratic letter we had sent the day before about food stamps. and he says to me, careful, governor, this is going to get
bad for all of us. same time he was mad at me, his chief of staff, rahm emanuel, was chewing out my chief of staff who's here with me today several feet away on the tarmac, except he used words i won't repeat up here from the podium. [laughter] later as we got in the car, i said, with all due respect, mr. president, we're angry about the lack of resources and a plan in the bureaucracy to fight this oil that's getting in the way of us fighterring this oil. and when i got in the car with my chief of staff i said, it's just amazing to me, they seem disconnected from the facts on the ground. i don't mind the president being mad, i want him to be mad. i want him to be mad about the right things. i think that was the message of the election two weeks ago. they were basically saying to congress and the obama administration, you guys have been focused on the wrong things. the people of america have wanted the private sector economy to be growing again, they want good-paying jobs so they can pay their bills, and they want their children to
inherit more opportunities than we inherited from our parents. and yet look at what has been going on in washington the last tw years. we've -- two years. we've had government bailouts of car companies, the expansion of obamacare so that now the government will be more involved in the delivery of health care, we've had the federal government debate issues like cap and trade and card check. it seems like they've been focused on everything but the priorities and the issues the voters care the most about. now, we've done something different in louisiana. back in louisiana when i was running for governor, i made a promise to the people of our state. you see, for 25 years we've exported our greatest asset. now, louisiana's greatest export is not our crawfish, it's not our shrimp, it's not even mardi gras. for 25 years our greatest export has been our children. we're the only state in the south for 25 years more people have been moving out of our state rather than moving into our state. and i promised our people we would create a new louisiana, to create opportunities for our children and grandchildren. and i want to tell you a little
bit about what we have done and how we've accomplished that. it did start on january 14, 2008, on inauguration day. i promised our people that we would start by waging war on corruption and incompetence. and, indeed, our first special session, our first 30 days was a special session on ethics. now, why was that so important? now, i know y'all are polite, and i know y'all are friendly people. but i also know you may not be rude enough to say this to my face, but every one of you has probably got your own favorite story or joke about louisiana politicians. [laughter] billy, the congressman, the former congressman used to go up to washington d.c. he'd say back home in louisiana -- at any given moment in time he'd say half my people are underwater, the other half are under indictment any given moment in time. [laughter] you know, people would laugh and say, that's just the louisiana way of doing business. here is the problem, those jokes weren't funny anymore. lsu did a study, they surveyed
over 900 business leaders across the country, tied for first place in what we could do to attract investment and jobs was to crack down on corruption. business leaders told us as long as who you know is more important than what you know, we don't want to invest in your state. we had a special session on ethics, the create sicks, the cynics said we couldn't get it done. i said during the campaign, of course, when you push the hogs away from the trough, they're going to squeal. [laughter] but you know what? we passed some of the toughest bills, the legislate legislators and elected officials have to disclose their assets and liabilities. critics said, people will leave. i said, don't let the door hit you on the way out. [laughter] when we said you've got to choose, you can't do business with the government if you're going to be in office. you've got to either serve us or yourself. i won't go through all the different bills, i'll tell you just two numbers. we used to be ranked 44th worth for legislative disclosure, today we rank number one in the entire country. [applause]
better government association used to rank us in the bottom five in their integrity index, now we're in the top five; but it was never just about rankings. it was about creating the conditions so the private sector could grow, so we had a second special session just weeks later. we got rid of the taxes on debt, new equipment and utilities. later that year we enacted the largest income tax cut in our state's history. why was that so important? our neighboring states didn't have those taxes, by the way. and here's something that even if you're not a ph.d. in economics, it's pretty easy to understand. if you want to discourage an an activity, tax it. if you want to encourage an activity, don't tax it. why in the world would we want to tax businesses who want to borrow or invest or expand and modernize in this our state? they told us their newest equipment in louisiana was older than their oldest equipment anywhere else. we got rid of those taxes. as a candidate and as governor,
as long as i'm governor we're not raising any taxes in the state of louisiana, and there are -- [inaudible] now, we've done more than cut taxes, we've cut spending 26% since i was elected governor. we've eliminated thousands of government positions, sold off 10% of the state fleet of cars, we've privatized services, setting real priorities about what state government should or should not be doing. now, the third thing, and the reason that was so important, you know, the cato institute graded all the governors. we're one of four to get an a grade, and our credit ratings have gone up, not down, the last couple years. we want businesses to know we want them to invest and grow in our state. we want them to know there's a predictable pro-growth environment. the third thing we've done, we've improved work force training. 70% of the companies want to move or expand in louisiana tell us their top concern is finding a skilled worker. we offer a guarantee saying our people will be ready to work on the first day, or we'll retrain
them for free. the forty thing we've -- fourth thing we've done, we've continued to improve education. i could talk to you about new orleans having a higher percentage of their students in charter schools, i could talk to you about the value-added assessment act to connect the evaluation of our teachers to student performance. the red tape reduction act. i could talk to you about the scholarship program to help students in new orleans if they want to go to private, parochial and other schools to take the dollars we would otherwise spend on them, i could talk about the rising scores we're seeing especially in new orleans after the storm. but one of the most important things we've done can, we passed a teachers' bill of rights, we're trying to put discipline back in our classrooms. why is that so important? we have made strides to improve our teacher pay at or above the southern average. but the number one reason teachers tell us they leave the classroom is the environment in the clads room. let me tell you something, it's not like when you and i were growing up. if you haven't been to a
classroom recently, well, i won't describe your childhood. let me tell you about mine. [laughter] when i was growing up, if i got in trouble, when i got in trouble i'd beg my teachers, you do whatever you want in school, you don't tell my parents. [laughter] i'm going to talk about my dad in a few minutes. my dad had a funny sense of justice. i'd come home and say, dad, i didn't do this. the teacher was wrong. he'd look at me and say, son, i know you better than that. [laughter] he said, you may not have done what the teacher said, but i know you got away with something in school today. [laughter] he said, i'm going to spank you for that, we'll call it even. don't worry about it. [laughter] not once in my life was i ever right. not once did he ever take my side over the teacher's side. but we're not doing our kids any favors, we're going to make excuses for our students, we go yell at those teachers. when those kids grow up and try to get a job, no excuses. every year you can look at the dropout rates in louisiana and california and other states,
incarceration rates, or there's almost a direct correlation. we rearrest over half of our people within five years. the only way to break the cycle is through education. fifth and finally, we've invested in the our infrastructure. we've invested more than the last three administrations did combined on our roads and ports, but it's not about process, it's about results. in this louisiana portfolio.com said we had the second best performance during the recession. gallup said we're the third best state in the creating jobs, we're the most improved state in the country, first time we've been in the top ten according to site selection. our unemployment rate has been below the southern and national average every single month, the best job performance in the south. southern business development says we've been the best state in the house economic development the last two years. we've announced tens of thousands of new jobs, billions of dollars of private capital investment. i hate to say it, we've seen companies move their
headquarters into louisiana from california, new companies, new forcommunity 500 companies -- fortune 500 companies, and i can tell you a lot more statistics, but here's the most important: after 5 years of losing our -- after 25 years of losing our people for three years in a row we've had more people move in than are leaving. now, why do i start with that? because i think this election two weeks ago was about one very simple, profound message. it was people across america telling our president, telling our congress we don't want to become the first generation of americans believes fewer opportunities for our children and our cell phone than we inherited from our parents. that's the american dream that if our kids work hard, play by the rules, they should be a able to have even more opportunities than we inherited. and yet i don't need to go through the litany of numbers. $14 trillion in debt, this administration projects it will
grow to $26 trillion. you don't need to look at the government spending, it is now up to 24% of the gdp, projected to grow to the 26%. the chinese won't buy our debt forever. we know interest rates will go up, inflation will go up, the value of the dollar's going to go down. i was glad to see as a modest, modest first step the senate republicans are saying, yeah, we'll go along with the earmark bin, but we've got to do much more than that. just like i said to the president that he was focused on the wrong things if he was focusing on a letter about food stamps. voters are saying to president obama and the leaders in congress, you've been focused on the wrong issues, the wrong priorities for the last two years. and here's the scary thing, you look at speaker pelosi, you look at president obama, you look at senator reid, they're doubling down. it's almost like they haven't got the message. the president went on tv and said it was a communications problem. [laughter] apparently, he just has to give
a few more speeches, we'll understand all the great things they're trying to do for us. i do give them credit for one thing, i give them credit for believing in their convictions, but there are republicans that are taking and rejoicing, taking comfort in the fact they haven't changed direction. that may be good for the republican party, it is not good for our country. we're at an inflection point right now i where we are to decide are we going to return to the limited government our founding fathers intended, or are we going to continue this permanently larger, more expensive government? the more that the government taxes and spends, the less liberty, the less freedom we have. now, i'd better start talking about this book, or my publisher's going to be very